Previewing the Play and Politics of the 2018 World Cup

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A sweeper cleans near the Kazan Arena stadium in Kazan on June 12, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup. - The 45,379-seater stadium will host four World Cup matches. (Photo: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)

The 2018 World Cup kicks off on Thursday in Russia and it's already proving to be one for the history books. Perennially dominant teams such as the Netherlands and Italy aren't competing this year and neither will the United States after failing to qualify this past October. The tournament is also taking place amid ongoing scandals surrounding FIFA and an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Forum talks about the games to watch and the politics surrounding the World Cup. Tell us, what country are you rooting for? What matchups are you most anticipating and why?

Gustavo Arrellano,
California Writer, Los Angeles Times Opinion
Tony Karon, managing editor, AJ+ and cohost of Al Jazeera’s podcast, "Game of our Lives"
Miriti Murungi, producer and co-host, The Feed on Fusion
Aly Wagner, soccer analyst, former member of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and first woman to call a FIFA World Cup